Firestrong is an organization comprised of tools and programs designed by members for members and is completely confidential and anonymous. It is endorsed by both the Phoenix Fire Department and Local 493 Union.
Friends Helping Friends is a department program intended to help those experiencing an array of problems. It is also intended to provide help and direction to those who wish to help a co-worker.
What kinds of problems does Friends Helping Friends address?
Friends Helping Friends has resources available to help those dealing with depression, drug abuse, financial issues, alcohol abuse marital problems, family problems, stress and more.
How does Friends Helping Friends work?
We work as team. It is difficult to stand by and watch co-workers struggle with issues that impact their well being. It is also difficult to try to offer assistance with inadequate resources and support. This program has counselors to talk to, specialists to consult with, and programs to participate in. All it takes is a phone call to initiate help.
In the past the emphasis has been on alcohol and drugs is that still the case?
Most of the requests for counseling services (55%-70%) are to address family concerns, but alcohol and drugs continue to be an issue.
For Better or worse alcohol is part of our culture. Most members use it carefully and responsibly. But for a variety of reasons its use can outperform a members ability to manage it. And we have seen members who struggle with drugs – legal and otherwise.
Is this a new program?
No, the program began in 1998 but mainly focused on substance abuse and addiction. We now want to provide more resources to those working to manage other stressors including their home life.
Generally speaking is counseling effective?
Yes. Years of data from a variety of researchers find therapy an effective intervention to solve and manage emotional and behavioral issues. This research concludes that 50%-60% of people using counseling services improve within 4-7 visits. Additionally, 80% of people who use the services improve compared to the non-treated population.
Is this program being used?
Yes, typically we between 10% and 12% of Phoenix fire fighters and their families use the program. Nationally, approximately 4%-5% of an organizations population uses similar programs.
How do I decide if a co-worker or family member is having problems worthy or my intervention?
Your support and intervention is important, especially if you see significant changes for the worse in a member’s behavior, emotional composition, or social interactions.
If I am concerned about a member what should I do?
Call one of the numbers listed as a resource. The person on the other end of the line will assist you in developing options for your friend or family member. You don’t have to offer names of you choose.
What about confidentially?
The program is strictly confidential. Arizona State Statute and the ethics of the profession make the professional counseling confidential.